The official LSU softball roster lists freshman left fielder Emily Griggs at 5-foot-1.
But when she steps into Tiger Park on game days, it becomes clear that her height shouldn’t be taken lightly.
“She’s just a fun little spunky kid,” senior center fielder A.J. Andrews said. “But she’s just ready for whatever. She’s ready to get on base and ready to do her job.”
At the beginning of the season, Griggs took on a plethora of responsibilities — even as a rookie. But she has since responded by being a force at the bottom of the Tigers’ batting order, batting .425 with seven RBIs and 15 runs scored through the first five weeks of the season.
Her presence has proven to be a weapon for a currently undefeated LSU club.
Coach Beth Torina knew what she was getting in Griggs.
She tossed the freshman into the No. 9 spot in the Tigers’ batting order on Opening Day against Memphis. Griggs was going to get her first taste of college softball on Day 1.
“The first game, I was a nervous wreck,” Griggs said. “It’s your first college game, so anybody would be nervous.”
The anxiety didn’t affect her.
Griggs showed poise and confidence at the plate, finishing her first career tournament with a hit in 4 of 7 at-bats, along with with two RBIs.
There was no turning back from there.
Griggs has since played in 22 games, making 21 starts in left field and batting ninth.
And the Wichita, Kansas, native has made a home at the bottom of the order.
Andrews may be the veteran leadoff hitter who sets the table for an offense that ranks No. 3 in the Southeastern Conference, but Griggs has proven to be the backbone who provides stability from the No. 9 hole.
In addition to her .425 batting average, Griggs is second on the team in stolen bases, swiping 10 of 12 bags. She also has the team’s third-highest on-base percentage on the squad (.549) — more prrof she has become the perfect fit to turn the lineup over on a regular basis.
“When she comes up in the leadoff spot, I feel as confident as I do when (Andrews) comes up in that leadoff spot,” Torina said. “I actually like it better that we have her, Andrews and Bailey (Landry) all in a row right there. I feel really confident that we’re going to score in those innings.”
And Griggs is only becoming more comfortable as the games go by.
Heading into a pivotal series at Florida — both top-five teams are undefeated — Griggs said she only sometimes still feels like a freshman.
Andrews, the veteran, plays next to her in the outfield, perhaps helping Griggs become more comfortable as a starter.
“I heard some conversation between the two of them,” Torina said. “It was a genuine dialogue. It wasn’t a dictator telling someone what to do. It was a genuine dialogue of her trying to develop and listen to Emily.”
Andrews said she doesn’t categorize anyone as a freshman.
“When you come into LSU, you don’t really have to worry about being a freshman,” Andrews said. “You just have to perform. I don’t think she acts like a freshman, but I also feel like we make it possible to where she doesn’t have to. It’s clear that a freshman can lead.”
Griggs continues to lead by example, picking up three hits in five at-bats last weekend against Arkansas.
The rookie said she isn’t boasting about her success, though.
“I’m not thinking about me, personally,” Griggs said. “I’m thinking more about the success of the team. It’s only the beginning, and we’re proving a lot.”